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GALLERIES > BIRDS > PSITTACIFORMES > PSITTACIDAE > RAIATEA PARAKEET [Cyanoramphus ulietanus]


Raiatea Parakeet Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

Binomial name Cyanoramphus ulietanus
(J. F. Gmelin, 1789) Synonyms

Psittacus ulietanus J. F. Gmelin, 1789
Platycercus tannaensis Finsch, 1868
Psittacus fuscatus von Pelzeln, 1873

The Society Parakeet (Cyanoramphus ulietanus) is an extinct parakeet of the genus Cyanoramphus.

Description

It reached a length of 25 cm. Its head was chocolate brown. The bill showed a pale bluish grey hue and had a black tip. The back and the wings were coloured brown. The lower back and the tail exhibited a rufous brown colouring. The underwing coverts and the outer webs were greyish purple. The breast, the abdomen, and the undertail coverts were ochre yellow. The mid rectrices were olive brown and outer rectrices bueish grey. The feet were greyish brown, the eyes orange.

Distribution

It was only known from Raiatea (Society Islands). Its habitat was probably woodland.

Extinction

There are only two museum specimens which are known to exist of the Society Parakeet. The date of their origin was controversially discussed. Erwin Stresemann (1950) and James C. Greenway (1958) were talking about 1773 or 1774, but in 1979 the ornithologist David G. Medway from New Zealand proceed on the assumption that the two specimens were taken in November 1777 during the third circumnavigation by James Cook. He undergird this expectation with the travel diary entries by Joseph Banks. Today these museum specimens can be seen in the Natural History Museum in London and in the Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna. The reasons of its extinction remained unknown. It is assumed that deforestation and invasive species like rats might have played a role. It must have become extinct shortly after its discovery.





                                     



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